Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Living Out Loud

“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, as an artist, will answer, I am here to live out loud.”
-French novelist Emile Zola

Isn’t that what we are doing, here in the blogosphere? Those of us who write are “living out loud”, and those of us who respond are adding our voices. It’s a connection that reminds us of the oneness of our spirit. I could choose to write about other parts of my life, but I’ve discovered that my horses are my one constant in each day. Interacting with them always seems to offer me something new.

Today, I want to share something I learned from my horses’ blankets. As I was removing Silk’s blanket this morning, I realized that she’s been wearing the same one for over ten years. The first winter that I bought it, some chickens at the stable thought it must taste good and torn the inside lining. There was a man who came once a week, and for five dollars apiece, washed the horse clothing for the barn. He asked me if I wanted him to repair it for ten bucks, and I said, “You bet.” It’s the only thing that’s ever gone wrong, through countless washings and over a decade of use.

When Siete stopped growing, I bought her a similar blanket from “Classic Cover-ups” in navy blue. Silk’s is hunter green, so I can tell them apart. They are expensive, but strong as iron. Silk’s cost me $240, so it comes out to $24 a year so far. Best of all, they are made of a material like Gortex called “SympaTex”. It breathes even though it’s totally waterproof. Last time it snowed, Siete had an inch of wet white stuff on her back, but the inside of the blanket and her fur coat were completely dry. They fit Quarter Horses beautifully, with a short drop, but there are also longer, high necked, “Euro Cut” styles.

I decided that I wanted to recommend these amazing blankets on my blog. I went to the website of Classic Cover-ups” (www.classiccover-ups.com). I learned that the owner, Lynn Bishop, was a horsewoman who had worked for the company that made Gortex. Twenty-two years ago, she and her husband, Ian, began making the best horse blankets they could make. They are entirely manufactured in the USA in Oxford, Pa.

So, here’s the bad news. They are going out of business in the next two months. The competition sells such cheap knock-offs with overseas manufacturing that the Bishops are closing up shop. If you want one, now is the time. As I read all the panicked news about our economic recession, I believe it’s because of so many bad decisions and choices. In our country, people are more attracted to “cheap” than they are to “made with care”. When will we learn that caring always counts the most?


Arlene said...

It is such a shame that this country would rather import everything from China or other countries, it is not enough that their toys are poisoning our children, but our U.S. companies are being forced out of business because of the 'cheap knockoffs'. When I was younger we would sometimes get toys or gadgets that said 'made in China', it was junk then and it still is as far as I'm concerned. This Christmas I was very disappointed when I purchased a few Breyer horses as gifts, they are nothing like the older ones my daughter collected as a child,these horses were really below par, after checking the box for where it was manufactured, you guessed it China. Being a consumer I would rather spend a little more for quality that lasts and is made here contributing to our economy,than pay less for inferior or harmful products. It's a shame about the blanket company but unfortunately that is a sign of the future. Sorry don't get me started, didn't mean to get so political but it has been a frustrating time these past eight years. On a lighter note, love the pictures.

Trée said...

Zola's response, "live out loud" reminds me of Thoreau's oft quoted sentiment: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”

I like Zola's better. :-)

Thanks for sharing Victoria.

Holy Cuteness said...

Beautiful pictures...

Gary & Mel said...

What an awesome blog! Keep up the good writing.

Invisa-Gal said...

What a wonderful blog to stumble upon. I hope you come visit me sometime.How rich a life becomes when it includes creatures great and small.
I had a horse when I was young, I sure miss that time.

Gethyn Williams said...

i love horses, best of all the animals.

what's your favourite fictional horse? mine is boxer from orwell's 'animal farm'.

Nancy said...

That baby photo of Silk and Siete would be a beautiful painting, especially with that "question mark" blaze so pronounced against the dark background. This is a lovely blog! Can I link to it? I blog about horses too! www.nancyjbailey.blogspot.com

Victoria Cummings said...

My heart belongs to Mr. Ed.

Linda M. said...

Hi Victoria - great blog! I listed your blog on mine -

Where in New England? We are now warm-weather Vermonters!


LM said...

That horse is beautiful.

Callie said...

Nice post. Unfortunately, I'm not sure where mine are made. I did just replace Kola's with a Weaver and I've never been happier. It actually keeps her warm and dry and doesn't slide. It's a bit longer with pleats for leg moevement. The not sliding bit is what really got me excited! Misty will get a new one next week, when payday arrives.

Sari said...

hey nice blog:) I love horses.. and I really loved your blog.
http://spiritualspur.blogspot.com and
http://we-the-helping-hands.blogspot.com I'd add it to my list. If you like mine, please feel free to do the same

Get Paid To Blog! said...

Damn shame we have to worry more about money than quality. If only we all had enough money (and brains) to utilize our local resources wisely.

Bonnie said...

I guess until we quit shopping in the big boxes this is going to continue. One of my favorite bookstores closed because of places like Amazon.

Thanks for the post on falling too.

billie said...

We're having a warm sunny day today and I'm using the opportunity to wash all the horse blankets and let them dry in the sun before nightfall.

Horses are out enjoying the sunshine and the mud - I've got hours of grooming ahead of me today!

fallingtomyknees said...

You have such a wonderful blog! I love looking at the pictures. It makes me miss home,but I'll get back soon enough! My husband and I have resided in both Arkansas and Kentucky, and both have some beautiful country great for horses. We have a dream of owning our own horses someday, we both love to ride,but due to our nomadic lifestyle it has proven difficult at times!!
Thank you for sharing your wonderful insight and pictures with us. You write very well.
I agree w/Tree about Zola's response.

Jackie said...

Isn't that the truth! In high school and college I bought everything at the lowest prices I could find, but since I've discovered that there's a whole lot to be said for quality. It may cost me a little more, but I'd rather get something that will hold up in the long run. And where I may skimp on myself, I won't skimp on the horses! If I had my own horse right now who needed a blanket, I'd get in there before it was too late.

ravesandhowls said...

I like your blog. If you feel like checking out mine at Tumblr, you'll see why. I've just "discovered" horses, thanks to my daughter. Maybe I should say "re-discovered," since my own fear of falling has kept me from anything relating to a real horse except horse poetry (see http://rave_n_howl.tripod.com, where I've collected the titles of more than 300 poems about horses for, you guessed it, my daughter). Now I have a Tumblr site that shows that I'm changing my attitude and am beginning to reach out to these most incredible of all animals.